Engineering Firm HappyFunCorp Eyes More Acquisitions

HappyFunCorp has been living up to its name, according to co-founder Ben Schippers — at least if you associate happiness and fun with profits, growth and acquisitions.

Last year, I visited the design and engineering firm’s Brooklyn offices for the final episode of our Built in Brooklyn video series. Since then, Schippers said the company has continued to add new team members, with a headcount that’s now around 80, including TechCrunch columnist Jon Evans. (Update: Schippers said it’s now around 90.) It’s also been taking on more work in gaming, which it’s planning to accelerate with the recent acquisition of mobile game development studio Heartonomy.

HappyFunCorp’s many clients include Facebook, LinkedIn and AOL (which owns TechCrunch).

Schippers said he’s become “focused on verticalized sales.” In other words, he wants to build out teams with expertise in specific industries — not just games, but also social networking, e-commerce, financial technology and energy. (Previous acquisitions include EastMedia, which helped HappyFunCorp strengthen its enterprise development team.) To that end, he’s planning to “acquire at least two more companies in the next 12 to 15 months.”

HappyFunCorp is also expanding its team through the new HFC Cadet program, where it brings on less experienced engineers (say, the graduate of programming bootcamp) to work on shorter, cheaper projects.

This growth, by the way, is being funded by revenue — over the past four years, revenue has grown 290 percent, reaching $4.8 million last year. Schippers said his team is still “pretty committed to buying companies purely through revenues,” in part because he’s not interested in the “many strings” that come with venture capital dollars.

The big ambition, Schippers added, is to build “the best place in New York City for whatever type of software that you need to build.”

To that end, HappyFunCorp’s main asset is engineers, and Schippers said the company’s model helps those engineers avoid burnout. That’s because it allows them to focus on the interesting parts of the process, rather than spending all their time on bugs or on server maintenance: “Once you’re in production, we know that a lot of engineers lose interest. We can take those engineers cycle them back into the beginning of a project … and get the engineers to where they’re doing what they want to be doing 75 to 80 percent of the time, which is pretty good.”

Oh, and if you missed it first time, here’s that episode of Built in Brooklyn.